Real Madrid, who were on the verge of elimination in every single round of the Champions League knockout stages, at times hanging on by little more than a hope and a prayer, of course went on to win the final last night — though this time without any last minute heroics or miracles.
No, this time the miracles were performed throughout the match, and by none other than former Chelsea slitherin Thibaut Courtois, who pulled off one of the greatest goalkeeping performances this side of Petr-Čech-in-2012 to win Real their record 14th European Crown, Carlo Ancelotti his record fourth title, and Eden Hazard his long-awaited medal as well. Vinícius Junior got the game’s only goal just before the hour-mark, but it was Courtois who truly won the match for the Galácticos, making ridiculous save after ridiculous save — evidently none of Liverpool’s players got the memo to shoot low and between the legs!
Liverpool didn't score a single goal in normal time in three finals. They've been brilliant all season but embarrassing of Michael Owen to try to claim they are the best team in Europe. Would be more helpful to analyse where they have (just) fallen short.— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) May 28, 2022
Incidentally, Courtois’ heroics had an added bonus, literally, for Chelsea as well, triggering a clause in Eden Hazard’s transfer agreement, reportedly resulting in a €20m windfall for the Blues — similar to Real’s La Liga title in 2020 triggering a comparable payment.
Hazard didn’t get to play in last night’s game, having just recently returned from the latest of his seemingly never-ending injuries, but on the 10th anniversary of his decision to sign for Chelsea, he saw his Real Madrid dream become a bit less nightmarish as well.
Meanwhile, for Courtois, it was redemption, having convinced himself that he was not quite rated as highly in England as he deserved to be, which is a weird way to frame those four years at Chelsea proper, when we even maintained an online encyclopedia of his best saves.
“Back in England, I don’t get enough respect, so I showed it today. I wanted to put some respect on my name there.”
-Thibaut Courtois; source: The Athletic
There isn’t much redemption for Courtois snaking us however in 2018 and using his family and kids as an excuse to go back on his word, which will forever taint his legacy at Chelsea. Still, he hopes that the hatchet is buried between us now. I suppose it’s as good a time as any to truly let bygones be bygones.
“I was rooting for them in the final last season and I hope today they were rooting for us too. I love Chelsea but I just love my kids more. [...] I hope they understand”
-Thibaut Courtois; source: beIN Sports
"There was a lack of respect towards me, but I am happy to show today again what a goalkeeper I am!"— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) May 28, 2022
MOTM @thibautcourtois had a feeling that no one would score against him tonight!
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